Sunday, February 13, 2011

EGG (Eugene Games Gala) 2011 - My EGGxperience (Part 3)

Day 2 - Saturday, Feb 5th - 7:00am
One the 2nd day of EGG I got up pretty early after staying at EGG until midnight, then driving home, doing a bit of preparations for the morning, winding down a bit, and finally heading to bed. Pretty much a normal day for me actually (except the EGG part)!

Anyhow, our Scout Pack back in November rescheduled the snow day trip to HooDoo near Sisters, OR, to Feb 5th, 2011. At the time I didn't have my calendar with me as the online service we track our family calendar on no longer worked with my older phone, and so I didn't (couldn't) object. Little did I realize until later that this fell smack dab in the middle of EGG! Well, by the time I realized it was really too late to veto that weekend. Grrrrrr. Ah well, I will know better for next year.

And, because we had such a great time last year I knew I couldn't suggest backing out. Being a Den leader doesn't help in this regard either. There is this really nice snow park just before you get to HooDoo ski resort with this decent sized hill that drops about 50 feet at maybe a 35-40 degree angle, then has a gentler slope at the bottom and a berm at the end to help slow you down.

Catching some air!

There is no cost other than the snow pass for parking. Last year the weather was bright and sunny with a nice fresh layer of snow - perfect for sledding!

So, I got up on Saturday to dreary weather. Rain was predicted for the day and I wasn't liking the prospects. Also, my wife had been sick for the past 1-1/2 weeks with a sinus infection and was not in the best of moods for going to the mountain. We were supposed to meet at the local school @ 8am but I knew that wasn't happening for us. Eventually we got packed up and left around 9:15am and arrived around 11:30am. The sky was spitting and the roads were clear, but I could tell it wasn't going to be like last year.

A 'quick' summary of our adventure in the snow: 
* Opened car doors. Kids squealed about how cold it was.
* Got out of the car and quickly got on outer gear.
* Realized we (I) forgot the kids jackets. :( :(  At least we had extra hats and gloves!
* Got spare jacket from scout leader for son. I had an my own extra jacket so swapped around until everyone was covered.
* Said greetings to other leaders and kids.
* Tromped over to the hill.
* Noticed the hill was very icy, snow was all slushy, the sky was murky and the air was misty/drizzly.
* Warned the kids not to go down the big hill and stick to the side hill that looked less dangerous.
* Warned kids not to throw snow balls (aka ice balls) due to danger factor.
* Watched kids slide around on their 'bums' on the berm.

Sliding on the berm.
* Watched kids get sled and go down together on the SAFE side of the hill.
* Watched kids nearly slide into a telephone pole.
* Wiped drizzle off of glasses.
* Dodged errant sledders cruising down the hill.

Errant sledder that took out my son (and nearly me!)
* Watched son climb to top of the big hill and go down on his 'bum'
* Watched closely as 10-year old daughter went down hill with her boy 'friend' (aka another scout in troop).
* Watched daughter and 'friend' wipe out at least 3 times.
* Went back to parking lot to determine if hot dog & chili lunch was ready.
* Got recruited to dish food out for everyone.
* Removed gloves to dish food and immediately had frozen hands which eventually became covered in fritos salt and apple juice (from cut apples)
* Listened to screaming, crying children unhappy to be frozen and wet.
* Wondered what games I'd be playing right now if I were at EGG.
* Served 2 hot dogs and hot chili to sniffling wife.
Freezing wife.
* Wiped drizzle off wife's glasses.
* Devoured 2 hot dogs and cup of chili.
* Watched the kids build snow forts and have snowball fight in parking lot park area.
* Gave 30 minute warning to kids.
* Watched kids attempt to slide into the telephone pole again before leaving. Twice.
* Helped pack up gear.
* Helped change son's clothes in bathroom. Screaming and yelling ensued.
* Checked all gear and loaded kids into the car.
* Observed errant sledder/crash victim being attended to. Hehe. (jk).
* Ignored former pack leader in his 'sexy' leggings.
* Said good-byes.
* High-tailed it out of there!

Icy slope takes another victim.

It really turned out to be a miserable day. The kids still had fun, but I don't think it was as enjoyable all around due to the weather and the slushy snow just wasn't as fun.

This experience has convinced me that I will be avoiding snow camping at all costs.

Anyhow, I couldn't wait to get home, take a shower and head back to EGG. I sent a text to my friend Chris that I'd be there in about an hour after arriving home and took my shower while my wife crashed in bed.

Soon I was headed out the door. Yes, I felt a little guilty about leaving her home with the kids, but I made up for it later by doing a bunch of work around the house on Sunday evening and later in the week. I also had some spouse points piled up from doing extensive yard work the previous weekend :) Result: empty spouse point bank.

Saturday, Feb 5th - 5:30pm
I finally arrived back at EGG. Ahhhh. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy doing the scout stuff with my son and with the family, but this wasn't the Saturday I wanted to be doing it.

When I arrived Chris had Merchants and Marauders set up. We had discussed this game previously so he knew I'd want to play. Lukas and Eli were also there ready to play. I checked in with Bob who had also wanted to play M&M but he was caught up in a game of Battlestar Galatica (another he'd really wanted to play) so we proceeded without him.

Somehow I managed to NOT take any pictures during the evening so sorry, none of that here. You will have to use your IMAGINATION (or just click on the links to go to BGG and look at the pics there)

M&M is a what I call a more serious pirate game. It's piratey, but not cheesy and not silly and not too light. It's a good solid game with terrific artwork and gameplay. There's LOTS of text on the cards and board to absorb and it takes a couple of turns to get through the rules, but it ultimately was a lot of fun and has a lot of potential once past the learning curve. It's not overly deep, but it will just take some work to get it all figured out. Highly recommended and well worth the time to play.

I started with the smaller (i.e. faster) of two small start ships, the idea being I would eventually be a pirate and start attacking ships and need to outmaneuver them. Lukas did the same, apparently with piratey aspirations as well. Chris and Eli took the larger ships with the idea to ship the goods and get some money.

I managed to pull out a win by first getting a couple of lucky draws and taking out a basic merchant ship, thus obtaining 3 points on that one turn. Then the next turn I boarded Eli's heavily loaded merchant ship, killed it's captain, and ran off with a pile of gold that I then promptly brought back to my home port on my next turn and stashed for another 5 points and the win! It turns out one of the designers, Christian Marcussen, seems to be quite a nice bloke when he commented on one of my posts about M&M. If you get a chance, have a go with this game!

~8:30pm - After that game wrapped up I quickly circled the room and spotted Sun, Sea and Sand being played! Ooh, I really wanted to try this Cwali game by CornĂ© van Moorsel. I had an opportunity to read the rules before it was published and was very interested in it. I love other Cwali games, Factory Fun being one of my top 10 favorite games, and just had to play it.

Oooh! I managed to find a pic of us playing it on Facebook.

This game is about attracting tourists to your resort by building bungalows for them to stay in, then building attractions to keep them around and generating more income. The timing mechanisms for how you place your workers are somewhat unique in that your placed worker may be unavailable for up to 3 turns (or even more if you really want to tie them up). All the shifting of the visitors and the workers sometimes gets to be a bit confusing and you have to make the movements carefully or else it's difficult to backtrack. But overall, I very much enjoyed the game and hope to pick up a copy of it once the price comes down a bit on it (or I might try to get a used copy for a good deal)

I would say it lived up to my expectations. It was interesting to see that there were a variety of strategies used and ultimately most all of them seemed like viable solutions. The final turns are especially interesting as you really have to get your timing down so that you have a lot of actions, have some good money to pick up some extra points for nice attractions, and also need to get tourists booked and into your resort before everyone else snatches them up.

10:30pm - Several people were milling around looking for a game. Ferrell and Rog. suggested Agricola. Surprise, surprise! They always want to play Agricola! Ah, but they also wanted to play with the Legendary Deck and the Gamer's Deck, both Essen 2010 releases and both I happened to pick up from FunAgain just before EGG (they deliver free to EGG). SO, this was a great opportunity to give them a try.

The Legendary Deck is special in that it allows you to draw a special card every time you take wood with at least 3 on the space. These cards then have a funny snippet and something special that happens. For instance, the Lady of the Sea, Part 2 lets you take ownership of 1st player PERMANENTLY for the rest of the game (or until someone draws that card again). Other cards cause the deck to be re-shuffled so it might easily come back around again. This card came up at least 3 times in our game, but I ended up having start player for most of the game. Not that it helped me or anything. For a more seasoned Agricola player it might have been more successfully utilized.

The Gamer's Deck replaces or supplements the standard Agricola occupation and minor enhancement decks. We used it solely for our game. Using the drafting method with this deck helped to ensure one person didn't get all the most powerful cards available. There were some interesting cards in this deck and apparently they were designed by players of the game with the intention of filling in gaps in the base decks that come with Agricola. The main purpose is to mix them with the regular decks for more balance. You can find the complete list of all 120(!) cards here:

What I really like about this deck is that there isn't anything crazy -- it's just more nice abilities that should blend with the base game really well.

My favorite that I used was the Wintercrafter Occupation. This let me play a Minor Improvement between the Feeding and Harvest phases during Harvest rounds. A very nice way to get all your Minor Improvements into the game.

By the time we finished it was around 1:00am. I began to pack things in and then started chatting with some of the train game contingent that made their way down from Portland. They were loudly playing Climbers and they appeared to have had a bit to drink. I left about 1:30am or so and headed home.

Thus ended Day 2 of EGG (and my harrowing adventures in the snow with the scouts).

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